Kimberley MW are ready to challenge in new United Counties League
Kimberley MW go into their first pre-season friendly against Sandiacre Town on Saturday confident of making a real impact in the new United Counties League Division One in the campaign ahead.
“When we came into the club we sat down with the chairman and spoke of a three year plan,” said joint manager Graham Furnell.
“First year, as we were new to the level, was always consolidate which we did comfortably.
“Last season we went for charging further up and getting mid table or above. “Although it was curtailed we had played everyone above us and were sitting comfortably in eighth position. Covid wrecked our momentum.
“Now, with the additions we have made, we are now focused on charging for the top end of the table. We won't be the most fancied team. But if you don't aim for top six you're giving something away.”
Kimberley will compete in the newly formed Step 6 United Counties League Division One after the national FA pyramid restructure.
“We are absolutely delighted with the new league,” said Furnell.
“It does get a bit stale when you're going to the same places season in season out. We have got some new grounds to visit and I think we have been quite fortunate with the geographical split as the travelling is not a great deal different.
“There have been two late additions to the league which will take us out as far as Bourne and Blackstone. But the majority of new places to visit will be Leicester-based.
“You look at the league that Ollerton, Clipstone and Shirebrook have gone in, they have to go as far as Harrogate.”
The players are all in good shape ahead of the first friendly.
“We continued through the lockdown and played seven or eight friendlies,” said Furnell. “After a couple of weeks off we've been back for three weeks. Everyone is looking good because we carried on instead of having an extended break.
“We we have not had to do too much what you would call conventional pre-season as everyone has come back in the right condition which should hopefully stand us in good stead.”
There are changes in the squad.
“We have lost our skipper Sam Parker from last year which was always the plan,” said Furnell. “He has gone up a league to Long Eaton. We are not two managers who stand in the way of the progress of players.
“If we have someone who should have a shot at the next level of football then we are progressive enough to know we shouldn't be standing in people's ways – and we have good connections with the likes of Long Eaton, Carlton, Basford and Ilkeston.
“We have open and honest conversations throughout the season with friends and people we have worked with in the games at those clubs to say we have one you may like to have a look at as we think they can go to the next level. Sam is one of those.
“We have also lost one we didn't want to lose as Luis Parkes, who was incredible last year, has gone to Eastwood. But again he is going to a higher level. We have plugged the gaps with two or three experienced players though we don't want to announce everything as yet. But we are in a good place.”